Originally appeared on E! Online
A new Miss Universe has been crowned.
Sheynnis Palacios from Nicaragua won the 2023 title at the international competition’s 72nd final in San Salvador, El Salvador Nov. 18. She is the first contestant from her country to win the Miss Universe pageant.
The 23-year-old, a TV host and model, beat first runner-up Anntonia Porsild from Thailand and second runner-up Moraya Wilson from Australia. The other contestants who made the top 10 to appear in the final were Colombia’s Camila Avella, El Salvador’s Isabella García-Manzo, Peru’s Camila Escribens, the Philippines’ Michelle Dee, Puerto Rico’s Karla Guilfú Acevedo, Spain’s Athenea Pérez and Venezuela’s Diana Silva.
A total of 84 contestants took part in the Miss Universe 2023 pageant and competed in evening gown, swimsuit and national costume. Palacious dressed in a black embellished costume designed by Jorge Salazar Caliz inspired from the Nicaraguan Grackle, a bird native to her country.
Hours before the final, Palacious, who had competed in many pageants before, shared a heartfelt message on Instagram about fulfilling a childhood dream to take part in the global competition.
“Tonight I dedicate it to my inner child and to each of the girls who yearn to fulfill this dream,” she wrote in Spanish, “even the sky itself is the limit, dream so big that people think it is impossible to achieve, because that is where you know that your dreams and goals will exceed obstacles, and remember to accompany them with determination, perseverance and passion.”
She continued, “My beautiful homeland, thank you for allowing me to be an ambassador of your culture, of your landscapes, of our identity and colonial beauty, my Nicaragua…will be an honor to scream one more night your name and prove to the universe that the homeland may be small but we are full of big dreams.”